The Portable Wargame book … is almost ready to be published!

After a few trials and tribulations, the text of my PORTABLE WARGAME rules has been uploaded to Lulu.com and proof copies of the hardback and paperback editions should be on their way to me in the next fortnight. Once I have had a chance to check them, the book will go on sale.

This book contains chapters entitled:

  • Introduction
  • A brief (and incomplete) history of gridded wargames
  • Some basic rules
  • Grids: Hexes and Squares
  • Definitions
  • Units … and how to represent them on the tabletop
  • Design Notes
  • Going Solo and the Sudden Death Option
  • Portable Wargame Rules: Late Nineteenth Century (Including Colonial)
  • The Portable Wargame in Action: The hunt for the Mahdi
  • Portable Wargame Rules: Early and Mid Twentieth Century
  • The Portable Wargame in Action: Soviet Combine Arms Assault
  • Appendix: Some thoughts on wargame design
  • Bibliography
  • Endnotes

The book will be available in three versions:

  • Hardback (costing £14.99)
  • Softback (costing £5.99)
  • Ebook (costing £2.99)

It is being printed and distributed by Lulu.com, and once it has been proof read and approved for publication it should be available online from Lulu.com, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc.

Once the book has been approved for publication, I will write a blog entry to that effect.

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Still very busy

I’ve managed to finish the second battle report that I’m going to include in my PORTABLE WARGAME book, and all that remains to be done is the book’s layout.

Based on my previous experience, this will take some time, and I hope to complete this final pre-proof stage of the process over the next few days. I will also have to design the book’s cover and add ISBNs for each of the versions of the book, and then I can send them off so that proof copies can be printed.


Busy, busy, busy!

I’ve spent most of this morning setting up, fighting, photographing, and recording the second battle report I will be including in my PORTABLE WARGAME book.

The battle is set on the Eastern Front, and features a Soviet combined arms assault on a German defence system. The Soviet Assault Group comprises four Tank units, six Rifle units, a Field Artillery unit, and an Anti-tank Gun unit. Facing them is a kampfgruppe that comprises a Tank unit, two Machine Gun units, two Infantry units, a Mountain Gun unit, and an Anti-tank Gun unit. The Germans have to keep the Soviets from breaking through for twelve turns, and so far I have played through five turns and the Germans have yet to be seriously tested.

With luck I should be able to finish the battle by this evening, but if not, I hope to complete it by Saturday at the latest.


My Portable Wargame book … another update

I have been working on my PORTABLE WARGAME book on and off since we got back from our recent cruise, and I have just finished the first of the two explanatory battle reports that I am going to include in the book.

By writing well illustrated step-by-step descriptions of battles fought using my rules, I am able to include lots of example of how the main mechanisms work. So far I have completed the battle report for the late nineteenth century/colonial version of the rules, and here are a few of the photographs I have used.

I hope to begin work on the second battle report later this week, and if I manage that all I will need to do is to proof-read the manuscript before it can go for publication.


At the moment I plan to produce a paperback and a hardback edition of the rules. I’m not sure how much these will cost to produce or how much they will sell for, but as soon as I know I will pass this information on to my regular blog readers.

How to … construct a boxed version of the Portable Wargame

Recently I wanted to take a very fast-play version of my PORTABLE WARGAME on a cruise … but space and weight considerations meant that I could not take any figures and terrain with me. I therefore set about constructing a boxed version of my game … and this is how I did it.

Materials and Tools required

  • Several large (A4-size) self-adhesive laser/inkjet printer labels (J8167/L7167)
  • A colour laser or inkjet printer
  • A copy of the following warboard, unit, and terrain feature templates (These are available in PDF format here and here.)

  • An A4-size piece of foamcore
  • An A4-size piece of self-adhesive steel paper
  • An A5-size pieces of self-adhesive steel paper
  • At least one A5-size piece of self-adhesive magnetic sheet
  • Two A5-size pieces of mounting board or similar thick card
  • A sharp modelling knife, steel ruler, and cutting board (N.B. These should be used using the correct and safe methods, and modellers should always exercise care when using them.)
  • An A4-size Tiger Brand Slim Tuff Box, several D6 dice, and a copy of the rules

Construction Method

  • Print a copy of each of the templates onto an A4-size laser/inkjet printer labels
  • The Warboard
    1. Very carefully fix the label with printed warboard to the non-adhesive side of the A4-size sheet of self-adhesive steel paper.
    2. Very carefully fix this to the sheet of foamcore.
    3. Once this is complete, very carefully trim the whole assembly down so that it is neat and tidy. It is advisable to leave at least a 1cm wide space around three sides of the assembly and a large space along the fourth side. The latter is very useful for storing playing pieces etc. whilst a battle is being fought.
  • The Terrain Features
    1. Cut the label with the printed units and terrain features into two pieces so that the units are on one part and the terrain features are on the other.
    2. Very carefully fix the label with printed terrain features printed on it to the non-adhesive side of the A5-size sheets of self-adhesive steel paper.
    3. Very carefully fix this to one of the A5-size pieces of mounting board or similar thick card.
    4. Very carefully fix this to the adhesive side of an A5-size piece of self-adhesive magnetic sheet.
    5. Very carefully cut out the terrain features using the lines as a guide. Too much care cannot be exercised in doing this as the combined steel paper, mounting board/thick cardboard, and magnetic sheet are quite substantial.
    • (Note: The terrain features have magnetic bottoms to hold them in place on the warboard and steel paper under the printed top layer so that units will stay in place if place on them during a battle.)
  • The Units
    1. Very carefully fix the label with units printed on it to one of the A5-size pieces of mounting board or similar thick card.
    2. Very carefully fix this to the adhesive side of an A5-size piece of self-adhesive magnetic sheet.
    3. Very carefully cut out the units using the lines as a guide. Too much care cannot be exercised in doing this as the combined mounting board/thick cardboard and magnetic sheet are quite substantial.

The playing pieces are now complete, and can be stored – along with a copy of the rules and several D6 dice – in the Slim Tuff Box.


Time Commanders

Over the Christmas break I have been catching up on any TV programmes that I missed whilst Sue and I were on our recent cruise. Amongst these was the latest incarnation of BBC’s TIME COMMANDERS.

The concept is to pit two teams of three players against each other using a computerised game engine (developed by The Creative Assembly). Unlike the previous two series, which were hosted by Eddie Mair and Richard Hammond respectively, the host is Greg Wallace. He is assisted by Dr Lynette Nusbacher and Mike Loades.

The first programme saw a team of Scottish wrestlers take on a group of historical board gamers from London. The battle that was recreated was the Battle of Zama, with the wrestlers being the Carthaginians and the board gamers the Romans. In two initial skirmishes – which were intended to give both teams an opportunity to practice using the game engine – the Carthaginians won quite decisively. In the actual re-fight, the Roman side drove off the Carthaginian elephants (which had attacked without support) and then overwhelmed the enemy cavalry. The Carthaginians then attempted to regroup … whilst the Romans stood and watched. The Romans then slowly moved forward, using their cavalry to first outflank the block of Carthaginian infantry and then attack them from the rear. In the end the battle degenerated into a massive infantry slogging match, with both sides winning on their right flanks and losing on their left. Eventually the Romans prevailed … although both sides lost their commanders.

The second programme featured a team of aquarium workers (Imperial France) fighting a team of archers (Allies) in a re-fight of the Battle of Waterloo. The programme followed the same basic format at the first programme (two short trial skirmishes followed by the re-fight) and ended in a narrow victory for the Allies … but it was one hell of a messy battle, during which Napoleon was killed!

I think that the new format works better than the previous one, and Greg Wallace’s enthusiastic hosting – which could easily have been quite annoying – actually made the programmes more interesting to watch.

I look forward to watching the rest of the series.


Merry Christmas!

Wishing all my regular blog readers a …

… and a safe and happy New Year!